January 14, 2009 11:55
Korea's first baseball player in Major League Baseball Park Chan-ho could not hold back his tears under the flashlights of countless cameras.
In a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday, Park announced he will not be able to participate in the World Baseball Classic and will retire from the Korean national team.
"I'm not confident that I can do well both in the WBC and in the regular season in the Major League. I thought it would be too much to ask," the 36-year-old said. "I'm not sure what other international games are scheduled in the future, but I don't think I'll be playing in the national team any more."
Park, who began his career as a member of the national youth team in 1991, played in the 1993 Asian Baseball Championship in Australia, the 1993 Summer Universiade in Buffalo, New York, the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, the inaugural WBC in 2006, and the preliminary regional round for the Beijing Olympics in 2007.
Park's insecure position in the Philadelphia Phillies played a role in his decision not to play in the WBC. After making an impressive comeback as a relief pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, earning US$500,000, Park signed a one-year US$2.5 million contract with the Phillies last week, dreaming of a spot in the starting rotation.
But Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, while welcoming Park, was lukewarm about his chances of starting for the team, saying Park could also be a relief pitcher.
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